BURLINGTON, VT – Main Street Alliance of Vermont (MSA-VT) and Rights and Democracy (RAD) announce the release of a new Health Care for America Now (HCAN) report that details the impact of dismantling the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on individuals, small businesses and Vermont’s economy. A Cost Too High: The Financial Harm of the Republican Plan to Eliminate Health Care is evidence that proposals to repeal the ACA put Vermonters’ health and economic security at risk.
In Vermont, 35,000 people depend on the ACA for their health care. Repeal takes away coverage from these people and does away with provisions that protect patients with pre-existing conditions from being denied or charged more for coverage. Repeal could also end coverage for young adults who elect to stay on their parents’ insurance plan until age 26 and eliminate no-cost preventive care for people of all ages.
"Standing up for health care in Vermont is about all of us. It's about the young mom working three part-time jobs without benefits to support her kids, the father who can’t retire because he can’t afford to lose health insurance for his family, and the retiree who has to choose between her blood pressure medicine and groceries. It's about the college grad with an entry-level job and no more parental safety net, the women who will be forced to pay more just because we are women, and the self-employed writers and artists and entrepreneurs who, like me, would be on their own again when it comes to health insurance,” said Brenda Patoine, a RAD member and beneficiary of an ACA insurance plan. “If we allow health care to become something only the wealthiest can afford, that does not make America great again.”
Under the Republican repeal bill, Vermonters who receive subsidies to help pay for insurance premiums under the law would lose an estimated average of $3,888 a year in premium assistance, leaving many unable to afford coverage. Seniors who currently receive reduced prices on prescription drugs would also lose their discount, costing the average Vermont senior on Medicare an estimated additional $1,102 per month. The report shows that eliminating the ACA could reduce money to hospitals, community health centers, and doctors by $98 million but would still require these providers to provide up to $78 million in “uncompensated care” to the people who lose coverage and no longer have insurance to pay their bills.
Along with repeal, Republican proposals to cap or block grant the Medicaid program and to privatize Medicare for seniors would also have dire consequences on older Vermonters. Republicans in Congress are trying to rush through a plan that would take away health coverage from 30 million people across the country. Repealing the Affordable Care Act is a first step in a campaign to slash state funding for Medicaid and turn Medicare over to Wall Street. Insurance companies would increase profits, seniors would get less care that costs more, and states would foot the bill for more uninsured people while receiving less Medicaid funding.
“Access to affordable health care is a known economic driver. There are many Vermont small business owners who would not have been able to pursue their livelihoods without access to Medicaid or Vermont Health Connect coverage,” said Jen Kimmich, Owner of the Alchemist and Chair of the Board of MSA-VT. “The Republican plan will shift huge costs to our state government, which will either force Vermont to raise taxes or make cuts in other critical areas, including cutting coverage for the children, working families, small business owners, seniors and people with disabilities who depend on Medicaid or ACA subsidies for their health care. Not only will this cost shift affect the health of our families, it will affect the health of Vermont’s economy by stymying entrepreneurship and small business growth.”
Because of the ACA, states like Vermont received additional funds to cover the uninsured through the Medicaid expansion program. Repealing the ACA would halt increased funding to states, and promises of caps and block grants will cut funding even more severely over time. Medicaid serves mainly children, people with disabilities, seniors and low-income adults, but also provides health coverage to 6.1 million small business owners and employees nationwide.
To read the full report, visit bit.ly/Cost_Too_High
Main Street Alliance is national network of state and locally based small business coalitions that believe that when we support our communities, we support our small businesses. MSA-VT is committed to building a healthy Vermont economy through smart state investments and policy.
Founded in 2015, Rights and Democracy is a member-based organization in Vermont and New Hampshire, which engages in grassroots organizing and the empowerment of everyday people to build diverse, equitable, healthy, and environmentally sustainable communities.
 Based on U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 Current Population Survey with small businesses defined as those with fewer than 50 employees.